As I lay here tonight, 17 years of memories are flooding me. My baby boy celebrates his 17th birthday tomorrow. It’s hard to believe.
I remember being so upset when I found out I was pregnant with Hunter. I ran to my mama’s house and cried liked a baby. I was upset. There was NO possible way that I could love this unborn baby as much as I loved my firstborn Chase, who was around 14 months old. No way. Hunter was due on his big brother’s 2nd birthday.
Like every other mother, I quickly found out that you have special places on your heart for each of your children that belongs to them alone. There is plenty of love to go around for everyone.
Hunter made his entrance into the world a little earlier than expected. By his first birthday, it became obvious that something was different about him. In the years that followed, we had taken him to many doctors, wanting him “fixed”. The Easter Seals were working with him. We had private therapists working with him… the list went on. During all this, we had made a trip to Fruitland Bible College. There is a chapel on the grounds that you can go into and have prayer and also write your requests in a book at the altar. Hunter’s name is in that book. And we prayed for him in a very intimate setting with some dear prayer warriors. I’ll never forget that a friend came to me afterwards and said that she felt the Holy Spirit telling her that Hunter was going to fine and God had a special calling on his life.
At this point, Hunter was nearing age 4, and we affectionately called him Grunter becuase he did not talk. His speech was very limited. He grunted. If he was hungry…. he’d go grab a plate and stand in front of the refrigerator and grunt. Around this time, we discovered that Hunter was a carrier of the same gene that I have that causes bilateral nerve deafness hearing loss from around age 5. His tests had been normal up until then. Now we faced a double whammy. Hunter was fitted with hearing aids and his speech therapy intensified. Once you’ve lost your ability to hear vowel sounds, a speech impediment is imminent with learning to talk.
In my devastation at this latest news, the Lord started working on me. He reminded me that Hunter was HIS child. Created in HIS image. We had just been given custodial rights while here on earth. That meant there were no mistakes. The Lord told me to back off and quit trying to fix Hunter. I started accepted the less than stellar teachers reports. Hunter now had a sign language instructor at school and had an IEP.
Two years later, when Hunter was 7 and Chase 9, they lost their hero. Their daddy. Chase lost his innocence that day. Not Hunter. He accepted it with a wisdom way beyond his years. For the first time in my life, I started praying for my boys’ faith and for it to remain intact and grow.
Around this time, I decided to move Hunter to a private Christian school. 9 months into this new school, we were sitting on the back row of our church on a Sunday morning. Hunter pulled on my sleeves and indicated through sign that he could not hear. I assumed the batteries were dead and stopping up his ears. I reached down and pulled them out. Hunter face lit up and he said he could hear! He told me Jesus healed him. 10 years later, he still does not have hearing aids. He does have a mild speech impairment.
During the last 10 years, the Lord has revealed one plan after another for Hunter, all the while taking him from one hardship after another that a kid his age shouldn’t bear. They lost a set of grandparents in 2013, one to serve a life sentence for murdering the other. They’ve been with me every step of Preston’s journey, and just recently, they lost another grandparent that Hunter was especially close to another senseless crime.
As always, the Lord has kept his faith intact. Hunter loves sharing his testimony with youth groups and other churches. In the 10 years that he has been at Carolina Christian Academy, I think he’s been awarded the most prestigious award the school has 8 times…. “The Most Christ-like” among his peers. He begs to go on mission trips and often raises his own funds in order to make it happen. He begs to go with me into sometimes unsafe places to deliver food to those in need. He’s been known to leave his personal bible and even the shoes on his feet in some of these homes. He’s been baptized 3 times becuase he wants to make sure he got it right! He can explain the book of Revelation in a way that leaves your mouth hanging open in awe. He makes crosses out of anything he can get his hands on. He’ll nail them to a tree in the woods, or whittle one for me to carry around in my pocket.
Just this week, he humbled me even more, or rather his Heavenly Father did. . He told me he plans to sing a duet with a special friend of his in Church. He’s not worried about his speech impediment. He’ll be making a joyful noise for the only one who matters. His Savior.
My friend was right, all those years earlier. God has a calling on Hunterbug and he’s living it out every single day. God has been gracious to me in allowing me to see it play out. He’s answered my constant prayer of allowing my boys to hang on to their faith.
Happy Birthday, Hunter!!! Preston and I are so proud of you. If only your daddy could see how his little man turned out……but I’m sure Jesus told him all about how it was going to play out.
Until next time….
The Bean Counter